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Eastland a Chinese, Japanese nirvana in east Vancouver

Menu wide in scope, with a culinary tour loaded with choices

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Published: November 29, 2019, 6:00am
6 Photos
Sauteed string beans at Eastland Sushi & Asian Cuisine. (Rick Browne/ for The Columbian)
Sauteed string beans at Eastland Sushi & Asian Cuisine. (Rick Browne/ for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Having heard about Eastland Sushi & Asian Cuisine, I was prepared for a culinary tour. Boy, did the restaurant come through.

The lobby is a combination of Japanese and Chinese decor. The main feature there is a well-stocked koi pond that draws in children like a magnet. The Chinese-themed main dining room features marble topped tables, two of which seat eight in the round with huge canzhuo zhuanpan (lazy Susan-like turntables) in the center. Chinese-style wooden chairs and subdued lighting over the booth tables and across the ceiling provide a relaxed and gentle ambiance to the room. Despite having every table filled, the room was surprisingly calm and quiet.

A second smaller private dining room at the rear of the main room is themed with a Japanese motif, featuring large Japanese paintings. And there is a sushi bar and a cocktail bar in separate rooms off the lobby. Both were jammed.

I had a problem the minute I picked up the menu. The restaurant offers 200 items, with 62 varieties of sushi alone. For heaven’s sake, the take-out menu is seven pages filled with small type.

If you’ve a hankering for Chinese or Japanese this is your nirvana. I want to give you more than just a hint about the wide scope of their menu, but gentle readers just listing all 200 would leave no room for the review.

Dining out guide: Eastland Sushi & Asian Cuisine

Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday.
Where: 16519 S.E. McGillivray Blvd., Vancouver.
Contact: 360-883-1858; www.eastlandcuisine.com
Health score: Eastland Sushi & Asian Cuisine received a score of 53 on Sept. 25. Zero is a perfect score, and Clark County Public Health closes restaurants with a score of 100 or higher. For information, call 360-397-8428.

We wanted to try about 50 items, but we didn’t want to be carried out by a forklift. We chose to begin with vegetable tempura ($3.95), two each of golden battered onion rings, whole broccoli flowerets, squash and zucchini slices, including a small side of dipping sauce. All were crisp outside, greaseless, perfectly tender, flavorful, and moist inside.

The pot stickers ($3.95) were nicely browned, had thicker wonton skins than we’re used to, and were filled with a delicious meat filling. A veggie version is also available. We could have eagerly eaten plates of these for our main course.

Next up was a mouth-watering and very generous mound of Dried Sauteed String Beans ($8.95). They were al dente, not mushy, garlicky good, and something we’ll definitely order again.

Mu shu pork ($11.95) with accompanying flour pancakes and hoisin sauce and a platter of crispy duck with a side plate of noodles were our entrees. Both brought back vivid memories of the months I lived in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Guangzhou, China.

The mu shu was a delicious mountain of sauteed shredded pork with cabbage, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, egg and onion, superbly paired with a savory-sweet hoisin (soybean, garlic and chili pepper) sauce. Spread sauce on pancake, spoon on pork, wrap pancake like a burrito, eat.

The crispy duck ($11.95) is a half duck, seasoned with Chinese five-spice and fried until the skin is crackling and crisp. It’s messy and not for those who eschew eating around bones. The pepper-salt served alongside enhanced the salty-spicy tang of the skin. A dish of wok-fried plain rice noodles, a challenge to eat with chopsticks, were a nice break from the hearty duck meat and skin.

Dessert? Red bean or tempura ice cream, sticky rice or sesame balls? Nope. But a cocktail glass of iced lychee fruit was just the ticket. Refreshing and not overly sweet, the small fruit tasted like a blend of peach and pear. A perfect and exotic end to our Asian culinary tour.


Rick Browne can be emailed at rickbrowne@me.com.

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